This is from the Guardian (UK). FULL DISCLOSURE - we have several kindles and I'm a charter member of Amazon Prime. The picture shows wage slips pinned to the wall.
Five o’clock in the morning and the young woman’s eyelids are drooping. All night she has been removing spots of dust from Amazon smartspeakers with a toothbrush. Time seems to crawl. Now she is overwhelmed with exhaustion.
She works on, more and more slowly, until she can do no more. She looks around the workshop. Other workers have rested their heads on the bench. She slumps forward and falls asleep.
Let’s call the young woman Alexa. Alexa, what are you doing here?
The article is very extensive and touches on working conditions in the United Kingdom for Amazon warehouse workers, as well as Chinese Amazon factory workers. Of course, no one is forced to work in any of these warehouses or plants.
Dozens of workers are arriving, casually dressed in jeans and T-shirts. Most are young and there is a good mixture of women and men. Ahead of them lies a 60-hour week, eight regular hours for five days, plus two more of overtime each day and another 10 on Saturday. They will be expected to hit tough targets and must ask permission to use the toilets. The overtime – up to 80 hours a month – is far in excess of the 36 hours stipulated in Chinese labour laws, but companies can and do seek exemptions and workers want the overtime, to boost their basic pay.
These are the people who are making the smart speakers and tablets that Amazon hopes to make a fixture in millions more homes around the world this year: the Echo and Echo Dot – which both spring to life when the user addresses them as Alexa – and the Kindles.
Foxconn is China’s largest single private employer, and in March it reported a 4.2% increase in profits, with net income rising to £1.84bn in the last three quarters of 2017. Profits for the first quarter of this year were £605m and its CEO, Terry Gou, has a fortune reported to be about £5.3bn. But it is said to be keen to diversify to reduce its reliance on Apple and it is investing heavily in the Hengyang plant to meet the demand from Amazon.
The Foxconn factory in Hengyang relies on the tried and tested formula of low wages and long hours. But here there is another element: the extensive use of agency workers who don’t have the security of a regular job.
Bezos is worth an estimated £102bn, a fortune he acquired against a backdrop of global reports of misery for Amazon’s warehouse workers, exhausted by the demands made on them in return for the most basic of wages. Unions and labour rightsgroups have protested about low pay and harsh working conditions, and three delivery firms used by Amazon are facing a legal challenge from the GMB union, demanding that gig economy delivery drivers receive sick pay and holiday pay.
Last month it was revealed that ambulances had been called 600 times to Amazon’s UK warehouses over the past three years. There have been repeated calls for Amazon to improve the lot of its workers.
But Bezos doesn’t see the need. Collecting an award for “outstanding personalities who are particularly innovative, and who generate and change markets, influence culture and at the same time face up to their responsibility to society” a couple of months ago, he was questioned about the controversies surrounding the way he made his money.
“When you’re criticised,” he said, “first look in the mirror and decide: are your critics right? If they are right, change. Don’t resist.”
But Bezos’s mirror apparently showed him that his critics were wrong. “I’m very proud of our working conditions and very proud of the wages we pay,” he told the audience gathered to fete him.
There's plenty more to this story - hit the link above if interested. Below is the end of the article
Last year, Bezos announced that he was considering a philanthropy strategy, “helping people in the here and now – short term – at the intersection of urgent need and lasting impact”.
Apparently short of inspiration and unable to think of anything close to home, he took to Twitter to ask for suggestions. Today’s report suggests he might have been better off just asking Alexa.